By: Wes Mayer
Close your eyes, and Cloudeater will have you imagining drifting through space. With a distant background of synthetic effects and soaring high electric guitar notes coupled with a foreground of strong, echoing vocals, Cloudeater gives off smooth, slow vibes. At the same time, however, Cloudeater’s music is anchored by a heavily distorted bass guitar and fast-paced drum beats that generates a head-banging tempo. With this combination, Cloudeater becomes a mesmerizing rock band that you cannot help but close your eyes and nod your head to.
The band sounds incredible live, and they put on an impressive show at New Earth Music Hall Saturday night. They played a short set with only seven songs, lasting only 35 minutes, but they played with a great amount of energy and compassion. With that energy combined with their laid-back and mellow attitude in between songs, Cloudeater gave off the feeling that the audience was just hanging out with them, listening to them play some rocking music in their basement.
Cloudeater released their first album “Sun and Sidearm” last October. The band considers its music influenced by Radiohead, The Flaming Lips and Nine Inch Nails, and after listening to their recorded songs, I also caught some similarities to Tool and Muse.
Sam Dew, the frontman and vocalist, was the main contributor to the band’s mesmerizing audio effects. He sang in a surprisingly high octave and with his wide vocal range and hit high notes in almost every song in their set. This vocal talent was especially showcased in the best song of the night, “The Dive,” where his voice reached impressive glass-shattering, but not ear-piercing, levels. Dew controlled his vocals with a soundboard, and during most songs he enhanced them with an echoing effect, which gave Cloudeater the sound of being deep in a cave or drifting through space. Dew also looped his lyrics in the songs, becoming a vocalist seemingly singing two things at once.
Trevor Flanders, the bassist, balanced out the echoing vocals with his heavy sound. Most of the band’s set began with his loud, heavily distorted bass intros that sent vibrations throughout the room. The bass is not often the loudest instrument of a band, and it was a welcome change to hear. Flanders’s bass lines were fast, rough and would seem common for a metal band. That is what really made Dew’s high, smooth vocals so shocking. The vocals counteracted the bass, and the blend of the two was intriguing.
Chris Hunt also added to Cloudeater’s sound with his interjection of solid drum beats. His drumming was composed of mostly snare and bass hits, and the tempo resembled that of a marching band. It worked very well with Cloudeater’s mood, and gave the audience something to nod its head to. Their song “Idiot March” was what established his drumming ability. If anything, however, most songs were composed of overly repetitive drum beats, and adding a few more complicated fills would have given the tempo more variety.
Daniel Friedman, electric guitarist, and Nolan Kramer, sound effect creator, while slightly more muted that the other members at New Earth, still added subtle contributions to the overall sound of Cloudeater. Friedman played long, high and sharp notes on the guitar, and Kramer created a smooth resonating backdrop of sound – both matching the almost cavernous vocals. Although not as intense as the bass or drums, by closing your eyes and listening to every sound you could fully appreciate Cloudeater’s lighter side.
Many bands attempt to combine different genres of music, but fail to make a universal sound that works well blended together. Cloudeater’s band members, on the other hand, complemented each other’s styles and sounds perfectly. The heavy bass and sharp drum beats successfully clashed against the high guitar notes, background effects, and the even higher vocals, making an intriguing sound. Both in the studio and live, the band brings all these sounds together to create a stimulating and captivating rock band, and their show at New Earth Music Hall on Saturday was no exception.